The Zpacks Vertice (men’s / women’s) is one of the lightest rain jackets available. This featherweight shell provides excellent coverage, is incredibly breathable, and is surprisingly durable for how light it is. It’s on the spendy side, but if you want the best balance of low weight and excellent coverage – this jacket is hard to beat.
WEIGHT: 5.6 oz. (Medium)
ULTRALIGHT – The Zpacks Vertice Jacket is under 6 oz. for a size medium, which we can all agree is incredibly lightweight. And when compared to other ultralight rain jackets, like the popular Outdoor Research Helium (men’s / women’s) from our Best Rain Jackets list, the Zpacks Vertice provides more coverage thanks to its parka length.
ROOMY FIT IS EASY TO LAYER– The Vertice jacket has a roomy fit that allows you to comfortably wear a puffy coat or fleece underneath when conditions are cold and wet. Compared to some of our other favorite ultralight rain layers, like the Montbell Versalite (men’s / women’s) and Outdoor Research Helium (men’s / women’s), the Vertice is more comfortable when paired with insulating layers – due in large part to the looser sleeves and wrist cuffs.
LENGTH PROVIDES PLENTY OF COVERAGE – The Vertice is long enough to cover your bum, which is convenient when taking breaks on wet rocks or logs. It also means the seat of your shorts or pants isn’t bearing the brunt of the runoff from your jacket, so you’ll stay a little warmer when it’s wet out.
BREATHABLE – The ultralight fabric of the Vertice is breathable, and the long pit zips allow you to quickly dump excess heat. We haven’t had any issues with condensation buildup on the inside during rain showers either. It’s also light and airy enough to use as a windbreaker when hiking in exposed areas, and it won’t cause you to immediately overheat like some heavier rain jackets.
WATERPROOF – The Vertice is a 3-layer rain jacket, meaning it has a waterproof outer layer, a breathable midlayer, and a liner that protects the midlayer from getting clogged with sweat and oil. Three-layer jackets are the most protective and will stay waterproof for longer than two and 2.5-layer jackets. The Vertice has a hydrostatic head of over 20,000 mm., which means it can withstand a lot of pessure (like sitting under backpack straps, for example) without wetting through. For reference, around 10,000 mm. is considered the minimum for a good rain jacket.
DURABLE FOR THE WEIGHT – We fully expected to need to be a little delicate with this ultralight jacket, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised by how durable it is. We hiked through tons of thick willows and shrubs in it, and didn’t get a single snag or tear. A stray ember from a fire even landed on it and didn’t leave any damage behind. Still, it’s probably best to treat it with care to ensure it lasts for many seasons of hiking.
HIGHLY PACKABLE – The Vertice packs down small into its own chest pocket. As an added bonus, that pocket is large enough to also store the Vertice Pants (men’s / women’s) and Rain Mitts, so you can keep all of your rain gear together in one small and tidy package when not in use.
EXPENSIVE– The price of the Vertice Jacket is higher than most others on our Best Rain Jackets list, but we think the value you get for the money is pretty great here. Very few rain jackets can compete with the breathability, low weight, and coverage of the Vertice, so we think the cost is worth it if you’re an ultralight backpacker wanting to keep your pack weight as low as possible.
FLOPPY HOOD – The hood of the Vertice really needs to be paired with a hat or visor to be fully effective. In windy conditions, it flopped around and dumped rain on our faces at times. There’s a strap on the back that can be used to tighten the hood, but the coverage isn’t as good when it’s tightened. Many other ultralight jackets, like the Montbell Versalite (men’s / women’s) and Outdoor Research Helium (men’s / women’s), have a slightly rigid brim that eliminates this issue. We’d like to see a little more structure in the hood added to future iterations of the Vertice.
A Quick Look at the Vertice Pants
The Zpacks Vertice Pants (men’s / women’s) from our Best Rain Pants list are an excellent addition to any ultralight kit. Weighing in at right around 3 oz., you won’t even notice them in your pack, but they’ll add a ton of comfort to your layering system.
The wide leg openings of these pants allow you to pull them over all but the most bulky footwear, so you’ll hardly miss a step when it’s time to slip them on. And the baggy fit ensures that they don’t stick to your legs or inhibit movement during a downpour.
The pants are just as breathable as the jacket, and we often use them as a wind layer when we need a little extra warmth in exposed areas.
The ultralight Zpacks Vertice Rain Jacket (men’s / women’s) is nearly unrivaled when it comes to breathability in a rain layer. We love the layering-friendly fit of this jacket, and we’ve been pleased with the durability – especially for how light it is. The Vertice is pricey, but we think it’s worth the splurge if you backpack a lot and want to keep your kit as light and compact as possible.
We hope this review helps you determine if theZpacks Vertice Rain Jacket (men’s / women’s) is right for you. As always, please leave a comment below if you have any recommendations, questions, or suggestions or visit our Facebook page and Instagram to join the community conversation. If you found this review helpful, please share on social media and click the little heart button below to give us a digital high five!
If you enjoyed this review, you’ll probably like our other gear lists as well. Here are some popular resources from the CleverHiker Gear Guide:
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a modest commission if purchases are made through those links. This adds no cost to our readers and helps us keep our site up and running. Our reputation is our most important asset, which is why we only provide completely honest and unbiased recommendations.